^ I actually think the Prime Directive was
lazy writing, at least for a writer of Gene Coon's caliber. While I don't know what it would be (I don't claim to be near the writer Gene Coon was), I still find it hard to believe that he couldn't have come up with a more elegant solution to the need to tie our heroes technologically god-like hands in certain episodes. Something with less potential to cause story problems down the line.
Although, to be fair to Coon, the TOS Prime Directive was much more elegant and non-intrusive than the TNG-and-later version.